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Nineteen Minutes: A novel [Kindle Edition]

Jodi Picoult
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,341 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
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Book Description

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five....In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.

Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens -- until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town's residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state's best witness, but she can't remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And as the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show, destroying the closest of friendships and families.

Nineteen Minutes is New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult's most raw, honest, and important novel yet. Told with the straightforward style for which she has become known, it asks simple questions that have no easy answers: Can your own child become a mystery to you? What does it mean to be different in our society? Is it ever okay for a victim to strike back? And who -- if anyone -- has the right to judge someone else?

Editorial Reviews Review

Best known for tackling controversial issues through richly told fictional accounts, Jodi Picoult's 14th novel, Nineteen Minutes, deals with the truth and consequences of a smalltown high-school shooting. Set in Sterling, New Hampshire, Picoult offers reads a glimpse of what would cause a 17-year-old to wake up one day, load his backpack with four guns, and kill nine students and one teacher in the span of nineteen minutes. As with any Picoult novel, the answers are never black and white, and it is her exceptional ability to blur the lines between right and wrong that make this author such a captivating storyteller.

On Peter Houghton's first day of kindergarten, he watched helplessly as an older boy ripped his lunch box out of his hands and threw it out the window. From that day on, his life was a series of humiliations, from having his pants pulled down in the cafeteria, to being called a freak at every turn. But can endless bullying justify murder? As Picoult attempts to answer this question, she shows us all sides of the equation, from the ruthless jock who loses his ability to speak after being shot in the head, to the mother who both blames and pities herself for producing what most would call a monster. Surrounding Peter's story is that of Josie Cormier, a former friend whose acceptance into the popular crowd hangs on a string that makes it impossible for her to reconcile her beliefs with her actions.

At times, Nineteen Minutes can seem tediously stereotypical-- jocks versus nerds, parent versus child, teacher versus student. Part of Picoult's gift is showing us the subtleties of these common dynamics, and the startling effects they often have on the moral landscape. As Peter's mother says at the end of this spellbinding novel, "Everyone would remember Peter for nineteen minutes of his life, but what about the other nine million?" --Gisele Toueg

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Bestseller Picoult (My Sister's Keeper) takes on another contemporary hot-button issue in her brilliantly told new thriller, about a high school shooting. Peter Houghton, an alienated teen who has been bullied for years by the popular crowd, brings weapons to his high school in Sterling, N.H., one day and opens fire, killing 10 people. Flashbacks reveal how bullying caused Peter to retreat into a world of violent computer games. Alex Cormier, the judge assigned to Peter's case, tries to maintain her objectivity as she struggles to understand her daughter, Josie, one of the surviving witnesses of the shooting. The author's insights into her characters' deep-seated emotions brings this ripped-from-the-headlines read chillingly alive. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2175 KB
  • Print Length: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (March 5, 2007)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000NY12LO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,844 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
345 of 373 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This time around, Picoult finally lived up to my hopes and she did so by tackling a difficult subject, one that has been in many novels thus far...a school shooting, a look at both the victims' world and that of the shooter (who is also a victim, in his own way), the alienation of kids who are on the outside and the interconnection between the popular kids and those who aren't. Although the novel is graphic, it would certainly provoke plenty of discussion and understanding between parents and teens, although parents may want to consider how ready their teen is to read a book so detailed and so complex and with graphic sexuality (including rough sex).

As a long-time reader of her books, my one disappointment with Picoult has always been how often her endings seemed to fall apart into stereotypical or "pat" solutions, when the rest of her writing, up to that point, would be so very, very strong. And yet, I KEPT buying her books, because she did everything else so well - solid, compelling characters, great plots (until those endings), riveting events. I kept rooting for her. I knew she had the chops to produce a solid book, from start to finish, without those letdowns at the end (and I'm sure others will disagree with me about the endings, as she IS a popular writer).

This time,with Nineteen Minutes, she pulls it off, does everything right...and I'm delighted to be able to say so. I wasn't able to stop reading, except for short periods when I had to stop and think about WHAT I was reading. I have raised three teenagers and her portrayal of teenage life, the cruelties of the bullies, the fears and insecurities suffered by even the most popular kids, was eerily accurate.
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67 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "they started it" March 14, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
These are the words that seventeen-year-old Peter Houghton says when he is found after a school shooting spree huddling with a gun in his hand by Detective Patrick Ducharme. An outcast who had been bullied since kindergarten, Peter kills ten, including a teacher, and injures many more.

At first glance, it looks like a straightforward act of revenge, but things are revealed to be more complex. One of his victims is Matt Royston, the boyfriend of his former childhood friend, Josie Cormier, and others are members of the in-crowd, but others have seemingly no relation. In the days before the trial, and in the days leading up to the shooting, we are given the backstory, told mostly from Josie's, Peter's, and their mothers' viewpoint. We learn of the incessant teasing this boy received, adults' unsuccessful attempts to help him fit in, and of the stormy relationship between Josie and Matt. During the trial, we hear from the victims who survived and the devastation the crime has wrought on their lives. In the end, the reader may still be undecided whether Peter is primarily a victim, perpetrator, loyal friend, or all three, but that is the point.

What this book has that others like it often don't is compassion not just for the bullying victims, but for the "in-crowd" as well. It is more complex than "We Need to Talk About Kevin" because Peter is capable of love and not just a run-of-the-mill sociopath. The end is a little odd, but not as jolting as the one in "My Sister's Keeper." Highly recommended.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Writing seemed meant for junior high school November 15, 2012
I thought this book was sophomoric, laborious and rambling. It's my first Picoult. I was disappointed and by the middle started skimming over the parts that already seemed to have been written. I am always surprised when a book like this is a #1 New York Times bestseller.
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76 of 92 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable But Not a Barn Burner! June 27, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Jodi Picoult is generally a good storyteller. She does not let us down in her latest novel, Nineteen Minutes. This is solid writing and gives the reader one glimpse into the minds and lives of some young folks who wind up on the cutting room floor. Jodi deftly shows how its not always the ones you think will wind up in trouble that often get overlooked and in the process run adrift of the world, winding up in terrible circumstances that even the most vigilant parent may not see coming.

I felt Josie's mother's character seemed a bit shallow for a judge and didn't symbolize the career woman that she was representing--changing her clothes three times before her first day on the bench and then throwing up twice before going to the courthouse. No one knows what she's wearing under her robes! She's supposed to be an accomplished attorney who has tried hundreds of cases! Also, not immediately recusing herself from this case was another stretch too far. And, what about Peter's brother? This was an area that could have been delved into deeper and may have helped with the overall understanding of Peter's actions. Since it was not developed, it may have been better let out??

The stereotypes of the various cliques were probably a bit pedantic but characteristic of what goes on in schools. I can still remember the ones who were picked on and made fun of when I went to school. But I actually believe, with all the litigation and the restraints on teachers, children today could actually be crueler than in years gone by. And, with all the blended families and dysfunction in general, it's fortunate that children are more resilient than we truly know or this could be an even greater problem than it already is.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I might have enjoyed it a tiny bit more if it were written in chronological order instead of jumping around in time, but perhaps the author wanted to emphasize the cause after we... Read more
Published 5 hours ago by Marilyn Voorhies
1.0 out of 5 stars Lame. Cliched
Lame. Cliched, stereotyped; uses a tragic, real-life social problem to sell books and make money; does not in any way explore mass shootings in a real or useful manner.
Published 19 hours ago by Sandra J Kile
5.0 out of 5 stars At first it seems like the shooting was just an act of revenge but ...
All it took for Peter Houghton to change the lives of a small community was nineteen minutes. In nineteen minutes he got the revenge he had been wanting for years on the people who... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Lorrrie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I've read a few of Jodi Picoult's books and this one was my favorite. It was very intense and in certain parts left me in tears. I didn't expect the ending at all. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Barbara DiLisio
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I like this author!
Published 10 days ago by GALE
5.0 out of 5 stars Have become such a Jodi Picoult fan! This book ...
Have become such a Jodi Picoult fan! This book kept you at the edge of your seat, wanting to find out more and what happens next. A total must read!
Published 11 days ago by Gisel Depena
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read, just like all of Jodi's books
Published 11 days ago by Alisha
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read!!
This is the first book I have read by Jodi Picoult and I thought it was excellent. I love when I come across a book that I don't want to put down I'm so enthralled with the story... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Tracy Hathaway
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good Book!
Published 16 days ago by Sheri Bokros
5.0 out of 5 stars Jodi Picoult never disappoints!
Thought provoking, intimate, and timely. Jodi Picoult' work is simply the best contemporary fiction. She never disappoints. This is a great book.
Published 16 days ago by DLT
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More About the Author

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-two novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers "The Storyteller," "Lone Wolf," "Between the Lines," "Sing You Home," "House Rules," "Handle with Care," "Change of Heart," "Nineteen Minutes," and "My Sister's Keeper." She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

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Is 19 Minutes suitable for middle school English class?
Gosh no, I don't think it would be suitable reading for 13-year-olds, for many reasons. It is about older teens, teens who are openly having sex, teens who are disparaging about others who are different (ie homosexual) teens who are playing violent computer games, males who are abusive and power... Read More
Sep 5, 2009 by Belle du Jour |  See all 11 posts
I TOTALLY agree with you Thomas. I have to say, when I first started reading this book, I assumed that Peter would be the stereotypical monster but I absolutely loved his character. I damn near cried myself to sleep as I read his story. All I could think of was a sweet little boy who wanted to... Read More
Apr 25, 2008 by Khadija Brewington |  See all 50 posts
The End (SPOILERS!!)
She didn't kill her boyfriend by accident. She killed him on purpose because she hated him. It goes back to all the things her boyfriend had been doing to her like calling her a slut, telling her she'd get fat if she ate the french fries, hitting her.
Matt screamed at her "Are you f***... Read More
Sep 5, 2007 by Claudia |  See all 153 posts
realistic? (warning: reference to violence)
I think you may be right that Peter was not really a realistic character in that particular aspect.
I don't know if there are any people like him who snap to that extent because of school bullying. I think the character of Peter was too much of a sensitive person to do what the character... Read More
Feb 28, 2008 by Claudia |  See all 5 posts
The character Derek--Author error?
Maybe. She's made mistakes before. In The Pact, she messed up the main character's sister's age, saying she was 15 in one part of the book and 12 in another. So it goes to show that mistakes can happen.
Mar 13, 2010 by Books and Movies Lover |  See all 3 posts
Confused ..... about Peter Be the first to reply
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